The electrical outlet also has its own service life and eventually becomes unusable. However, do not wait until it becomes unsafe to use — it is better to replace it with a new one.
Important parameters when choosing an outlet
It is necessary to select a new socket or other electrical installation product for replacement not only in appearance, but also in terms of technical parameters.
Modern sockets are designed for a current of 16 A, which corresponds to a maximum load of approximately 3.6 kW, they cannot be used to connect electric stoves and other powerful appliances. When choosing, consider whether you need a socket with or without grounding.
A standard socket box (the so-called mounting box in the wall into which electrical installation products are installed) has a diameter of 65–70 mm, and its depth can be from 46 to 80 mm for different manufacturers and in different series. Therefore, when choosing a replacement product, it makes sense to first dismantle the old outlet and find out what the dimensions of the socket are in your case.
If several sockets are installed in a common housing, a frame must be purchased for them, which is usually sold separately. The sockets, in addition, must have additional connectors for connecting a connecting jumper (a wire connecting a pair of sockets into one circuit).
Old style sockets use screw terminals on the wires, but they loosen over time and require periodic checking and tightening. Modern electrical installation products have a design with a screwless wire retainer, which simplifies installation and does not require periodic inspection. Such models are available from ABB, Jung, Legrand, Schneider Electric and other major manufacturers.
Ordinary sockets and euro sockets differ in the diameter of the holes for the plug connectors. In euro sockets, the connectors are wider. Therefore, new plugs do not fit into Soviet-style sockets, and old Soviet plugs in euro sockets dangle and overheat due to poor contact. It may even be one of the causes of a fire.
If we compare the contact groups in cheap and expensive wiring products, the difference will be noticeable. Cheap contacts made of thin brass oxidize and deform over time. High-quality contacts are made of tin-plated brass or even bronze. These are more reliable and durable materials.
Index of protection against dust and moisture
The security index consists of Latin letters IP and two numbers following them. The first digit indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of solids, it can vary from 0 (no protection) to 6 (complete protection against dust). The second digit indicates the degree of protection against moisture penetration, it can vary from 0 to 8).
Other defense mechanisms
In homes with small children, it is recommended to use sockets with special protection. The sockets of their connectors in the non-working state are closed with shutters, which open only when pressed simultaneously with a certain force. Curtains prevent dust from entering the outlet and increase its reliability.
There are also sockets with a plug ejection mechanism — it catapults the plug out of the socket when a button or a rotary lever is pressed. In addition to convenience, this design of the socket prevents it from loosening in the wall, which is especially important when installing sockets in relatively fragile interior partitions.
Features depending on the place and method of installation
When choosing one or another type of outlet for installation, consider its design features in advance. Say, for a country wooden house, you may need wiring accessories for outdoor wiring. For bathrooms and other wet rooms, you will need sockets with a waterproof housing (IP protection index of at least 44). For poorly lit corridors, illuminated sockets can be recommended.
Sockets without grounding are designed to connect low-power devices and lighting fixtures; such models cannot be installed in wet rooms.
Instructions for replacing the socket
Before starting work on replacing the outlet, do not forget to de-energize the network. Check the absence of voltage in the network using an indicator screwdriver. If the lighting is turned off at the same time as the sockets, take care to stock up on an autonomous light source. Now you can start dismantling the old outlet.
Dismantling the old outlet
First, the front panel is removed, and then the decorative frame. In older outlets, the front panel is secured with a screw, which is usually located in the center of the panel. If there is no fixing screw, then the panel is fastened with latches. Remove it by gently prying with a screwdriver. To remove the socket mechanism, it is necessary to loosen the spacer tabs that fix the socket in the socket.
Then the mechanism is carefully removed so as not to damage the wires, and disconnected from them.
Installing a new outlet
The new mechanism is mounted in the reverse order.
- The front panel is mounted on a screw clamp.
- To mount a group of electrical installation products, it is necessary to accurately calculate their position so that they are lined up in one line. If necessary, the mounting grooves allow you to slightly adjust the exact position of the outlet.
- Wires are connected to the sockets, and then they are installed in the sockets.